Family space brings Mexican culture


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Richmond resident Leo Acosta eats a taco at El Trompudo restaurant in El Sobrante on Monday

By Dylan Collier, Assistant Scene Editor

If you’re looking for a new Mexican restaurant to dine out at with the family, or grab a quick meal over your lunch break go to El Trompudo on San Pablo Dam Road. The restaurant is a hybrid and resembles that somewhere in between a fancy restaurant and a Taqueria.

El Trompudo is a family-run business managed by Hector and Maria Montes and their children, who took on the full-time responsibility of providing the surrounding community with affordable, quick and authentic food.

Montes and his family got experience and started cooking their food in a taco truck on 13th street in Richmond. After four-and-a-half years, the family was able to move its business into the same building that previously housed the old Subway, next to Mechanics Bank.

Montes and his family have only been running their restaurant for the last year, so the most challenging part lies in the future.

They have a never-ending array of flavors at their salsa bar, some sweet, some mild and some hot. My favorite was the half verde, half guacamole blend. I started my meal off with two tacos, one carnitas and one shrimp.

The shrimp taco was comprised of a simple mild salsa containing tomatoes, onions and a piece of parsley all placed on top of the mouthwatering, succulent tiger shrimp that oozed with flavors.

My carnitas taco had pork on the bottom layer and salsa containing cilantro, onions and tomatoes.

Then I spent some time soaking up the ambiance of the restaurant through the music, artwork and photos on the wall.

The music that rang throughout the air seemed to be mostly classic romantic tunes, with some of these musicians beautifully displayed in pictures on the wall. Montes said he likes to switch up the music every day so it offers something for everyone. He said that some days they play salsa, some days merengue, others cha cha and sometimes rock.

Juan Gabriel’s voice (one of the musicians in the sea of photos on the wall) rang filled every corner of the restaurant with easy-going songs about love. The rich culture and history of Mexico is displayed on the walls with many famous movie actors, musicians and comedians.

Famous icons on the walls include people such as Cesar Chavez, famous Mexican singer Antonio Aguilar, actor Ignacio Lopez Tarso, comedian Mario Moreno nicknamed Cantinflas, Elvis Presley and Charlie Chaplin.

The most captivating piece of artwork is a painting of artists Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera holding hands, with a light green background, spectacularly accenting the wall with conventional Mexican colors.

.Maria Montes put up all decorations herself without using an interior designer.

Around early evening, by about 8 p.m., a wave of night-owl diners swarmed in to the sound of mariachi-like tunes with accordions resounding through the speakers.

The big food predicament in El Sobrante is that most quality restaurants that have burritos on the menu are closed by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., but El Trompudo is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

I finished off my meal with the Enchilada dinner that comes with two enchiladas, refried beans and Spanish rice. My main course rang up as a bargain costing $8.75 after taxes. If you have a much spicier palate, try the Molcajete Shrimp on the specialty menu, which is served in a steaming bowl with grilled bell peppers and onions. This dish has essentially the same ingredients as fajitas but without the tortilla and is a traditional Mexican dish from Jalisco under $17.

The food was delicious and not too spicy, which is sometimes a problem for me, but not here. It had an interesting romantic/family feel and ambiance

I give this restaurant 5 out of 5 stars for my review, because the food was reasonably priced, the service was efficient, photos and the decorations provide rich Mexican history.